Mini-movements: What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Maturing mini-movements offer structures for simple spiritual strategies that every member of the Body can understand, practice, and perpetuate. As mini-movements form, they plant both seeds of success and failure at their inceptions. Maintaining a strategic focus upon what produces “success,” with an equal vigilance toward minimizing “failures,” challenges all leaders, and has particular bearing upon the function of mini-movement leaders.

As with all leaders, mini-movement leaders make decisions and solve problems. What’s begun must be both maintained toward maturity and systematically and continuously improved as it expands. Without maturing leadership that matures the mini-movement, God’s originating purpose becomes a sideline or may be lost altogether.

Immediately a mini-movement forms, some aspect of its purpose will face an adversarial method designed to move it toward distraction with a greater aim to pervert it completely with substitution. That is, the enemy works to distract from accomplishing the mini-movement’s kingdom assignment. Its kingdom assignment, continuously and progressively expanding toward its completion, will contribute to a regional or national kingdom movement, so the enemy of kingdom purpose immediately employs an “anything but that” method, at the time of inception, to distract from or substitute for God’s originating purpose of the mini-movement.

As mini-movements grow, they gain attention. Growth generates interpretive efforts; good people filter the mini-movement through their personal experience or emphasis because they lack the fuller understanding of the mini-movement’s origination purpose. In this way, a valid emphasis or experience becomes an exaggerated emphasis or defining experience. The effort to make some emphasis or experience into a principle expands through discussion about and descriptions of the mini-movement. Often, the exaggeration is all that is necessary to jettison God’s originating purpose of the mini-movement, cross-pollinating the seeds with other spiritual species altering the fruit of the originating purpose.

Kingdom mini-movements, like the kingdom movement itself, require strong leaders. The leader’s responsibility is not to control the move of God but to guarantee no one else controls it. By maintaining priority upon God’s originating purpose, against all efforts to capture the mini-movement’s momentum for other distractions or substitution, kingdom leaders encounter good people with false expectations. They find themselves attacked by the enemies of the kingdom and by good people disappointed the mini-movement hasn’t met their expectations.

God will always anoint and grace His purposes. Sometimes strong leaders exert such strong responses to maintain God’s originating purposes that they develop leadership syndromes that become distractions or substitutions within themselves. Mini-movements are always susceptible to personality-centric leadership; and immediately a personality overtakes the purpose, the mini-movement becomes dysfunctional in terms of its part within the kingdom movement.

As mini-movements grow and mature, increased influence produces analysis and reaction, writing, teaching, interpretation, application, and projections about them increase, and the leaders must continuously clarify purpose as the volume of voices increases. Merely having “great meetings” or “experiencing His presence” on a regular basis does not properly define God’s originating purpose or fully reveal the blueprint for maturing the mini-movement.

Overreaction to criticism diverts or drains mini-movements of energy that would otherwise be invested in their defining purposes. Inadequate leadership turns the mini-movement slightly or significantly when it fails to solve problems or remains too weak to provide mini-movements long-range strategies that mature the mini-movements so they fulfill their assignments and blend that fulfilled purpose with the kingdom movement.

Mini-movements require increasingly maturing leadership in order to maintain the momentum. Maturing mini-movements requires a clear and firm grasp of God’s originating purpose and how mini-movements fit into a broader kingdom movement. An inherent challenge arises in this scenario because many people fail to accept the idea that mini-movements originate to do what might take decades instead of days to accomplish.

Revival movements may continue for five or ten years, but cultural reformation requires more than one spiritual generation.

1 – Everything God does requires more than one spiritual generation to accomplish, and every mini-movement’s purpose has kingdom strategies for the next generation.

Leaders often miss the difference between growth and maturity leaning toward the idea that accumulation of adherents trumps maturing leaders. The move to “feed the momentum with more people” leads to aberrations because mini-movements tend to sacrifice purpose for popularity to accumulate.

Answering the question, “How do we feed the momentum?” with strategies to increase numbers will nearly always redefine mini-movements with emphases that separate them from God’s originating purpose. The temptation to assume that any one mini-movement carries the entire or dominant burden for kingdom expansion often moves the leaders to make claims, infer, or preach some version of the “if only’s.” The “if only’s” message has various versions of “if only everyone would join our mini-movement we would finally succeed in establishing the kingdom on earth.”

Jesus established kingdom as a leadership strategy to transforms cultures. Jesus established His kingdom as a leadership strategy to bring the leadership of heaven into the earth. The kingdom has a strategy called leadership. Kingdom leadership has a strategy called discipling. Discipling has a strategy called fathering.

Therefore, to understand His originating purpose for mini-movements, leaders must understand the “highest and best” in terms of producing new kingdom leaders who can do what they do and then do it greater. Mini-movements begin with leaders. The maturity of mini-movements measures the maturity of new leaders who can produce the purposes of the mini-movements and bring those purposes into the greater kingdom movement.

2 – Mini-movements mature God’s originating purposes, not methods, manifestations, mechanisms.

Checklists or training that perpetuates or maintains methods or manifestations do not mature mini-movements and distort the purposes of mini-movements, often to the point of producing errors. Another form of the “if only’s” may be the “if only everyone would do this like we do, the kingdom would be established.”

Evangelistic mini-movements assume that “getting everybody saved” would finish the job. Worship movements assume that “getting everybody involved in 24-7 worship” will finish the job. Prayer mini-movements assume “getting everybody to pray” will finish the job. Revival mini-movements assume that “getting everybody into our revival” will finish the job. Doctrinal mini-movements assume that “getting everybody to think what we think” will finish the job. (Of course, the “everybody” in these scenarios does not always mean “everybody.”)

3 – Mini-movements often lose their originating purpose and fail to mature leaders who can bring that purpose to maturity as part of a greater kingdom movement.

Mini-movements must mature individuals at a personal level while maturing leaders to function at the scope and level of God’s originating purpose and the mini-movement’s assignment. Every kingdom leader should function at an international level even though every kingdom leader may not have an international assignment. If the mini-movement has purpose to influence a culture, it must mature leaders who can influence culture at the level as the assignment. The mini-movement must mature leaders who can blend the mini-movement with the greater kingdom movement.

The mini-movement cannot assume that merely increasing the number of people who appear interested or involved will mature the mini-movement. With few exceptions, defining the mini-movement’s success with numbers moves it off center, leans it toward some identifying marker that distorts, diverts, or defeats the originating purpose.

Mini-movements must recognize that God’s originating purpose demands an alignment with the greater kingdom movement, that the mini-movement cannot be an end-all, all-inclusive, or “this will fix everything” assignment. The inability of the mini-movement’s leaders to blend the mini-movement into that greater kingdom purpose eventually subverts the mini-movement’s purpose to some distraction or substitution. The mini-movement begins to major on minors.

4 – Mini-movements must adapt to expressions of God’s originating purpose that allow for new leaders and greater team leadership experience and expertise.

Mini-movements make room for new leaders and the chemistry changes these emerging and existing maturing leaders bring to the maturing mini-movements. As long as the originating purpose remains pure, the expanding mini-movement’s influence and impact remains contingent upon maturing existing and emerging leaders, and these leaders bring a new chemistry and leadership dynamic to the maturing mini-movement. Mini-movement mature when there are new leaders, and both the existing and emerging leaders continue to mature as leaders. (Merely maturing personally will not mature the mini-movement.)

Because all mini-movements originate purposes for the greater kingdom movement, their maturity is measured by the fulfilling of purpose. Through the preparation and positioning of new leaders and maturing those leaders to function at the level and scope of the mini-movement’s purpose, maturing mini-movements make room for expansion and establishing of the kingdom. The maturity of new leaders will tend toward inclusion of the greater kingdom movement, bringing aspects and emphases to the mini-movements that blend their assignments into the greater movement of Christ’s kingdom. Perhaps we could assume that the more mature the mini-movement, the more it blends into the greater kingdom movement.

No one mini-movement can properly expect to “finish the job” (of fulfilling its originating purpose) except as it functions within the greater kingdom blueprint Jesus has for the region, nation, or nations. No cookie-cutter mold punches out the kind of leaders that feed the momentum of mini-movements. The maturity of the mini-movements leaders and new leaders introducing new chemistry means that mini-movement change as they mature. The changes maturing mini-movements experience reveal how their originating purposes serve the greater kingdom purpose.

5 – Mini-movements do not prepare and produce traditions or insider lingo and clichés, turn into subcultures that limit their participation in the establishing and expansion of kingdom culture.

While there may be legitimate identifiers for mini-movements because of particular spiritual manifestations or demonstrations that mark them in process and performance, none of these markers become traditions without negating the originating purposes at some level or even eclipsing them altogether. Particular care should be taken to avoid producing an insider communication collection composed of unique defined terms. Some mini-movements require indoctrination as a basis for participation; many erroneously identify this indoctrination process with discipling. Merely saying a word – “confession,” “fire,” “more,” “drink,” “sovereign,” “manifested,” “dimensions,” or “enthusiasms” – produces the need for an insider vocabulary lesson. This moves the mini-movement away from the greater kingdom agenda by creating a subculture more than producing kingdom culture. When mini-movements properly mature, they become more and more closely aligned with the greater kingdom movement.

Mini-movements that turn campaigns into end games activate turn signals that divert them into detours or dead ends. Maturing the original leaders does not mature the mini-movement, and maturing a campaign, no matter how mature that campaign may be, does not mature the mini-movement or help fulfill God’s originating purpose. Only maturing kingdom leaders can do that.

Traditions often mean that the present leaders “reap the rewards” of the mini-movements instead of sowing those spiritual resources into future generations. Mini-movements that become like private foundations collecting kingdom resources to support their favorite issues or initiatives become historical markers and attract people with spiritual nostalgia instead of kingdom leadership.

A mini-movement may produce a university to perpetuate a personality, practice a methodology, further explain a viewpoint, or attempt to bring a systematic to a doctrinal distinctive in order to establish a tradition; in doing so, it stores the harvest in bigger barns instead of investing the harvest in an expanded farm.

To avoid the immaturity or regression of a mini-movement, leaders must mature new leaders and allow their leadership maturity to expand the assignment, align that assignment with the greater kingdom movement, and develop a level of expertise and experience within the mini-movement that serves to mature its place in the international kingdom movement.

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